Monday, 2 April 2012

Complaint letter to Cardiff and Vale

I wish to make a formal complaint against the treatment I received from a handful of staff on the Maternity Assessment Unit, UHW, on March 31 and April 1st 2012.

I had to be admitted to the ward for rehydration after registering +3 for ketones due to Hyperemesis (21/40).

I called the ward at around 6.45pm to ask for advice and let them know that I had been vomitting all day and been unable to eat or keep any fluids down.  The midwife on the phone told me it may not be Hyperemesis (?) and to just keep sipping fluids and see how I went. I advised her that my GP had told me to go straight in when I felt this way and that I would normally provide a ketone count but I had been unable to pass any fluid for 5 hours in order to do so, she didn't seem bothered. I had to go in via the OOH GP service which was a complete waste of time as the GP told me.

When I arrived on the ward at approx 11pm on March 31st I was told to wait in assessment room 1, this room is right opposite the nurses station on the ward as you are probably aware. Whilst waiting for a midwife to come and sign me in I had to endure the elevated complaints of a midwife called 'Debbie' who was discussing a patient who'd phoned re a suture she had re-stitched earlier that day. I honestly think it highly unprofessional for her to be discussing another patient's case, so loudly and audibly, on the ward itself. A few choice phrases were 'well I don't know what you expect me to do about it?' and 'well I don't know what I can do for her'. Hearing this immediately made me worry for my own case; would I be discussed so viciously when out of earshot?

I had brought with me a urine sample which was tested by the OOH GP at UHW around 30mins before they tested it on the MAU. The GP measured it to be 3+ and admitted me straight away. The above mentioned midwife told me, with attitude, that it was 'only' 2+ by her test and I was told to do a fresh sample. This sample was tested by a different midwife who indeed confirmed it was 3+ and very, very dark.

At this point the doctor came in, gave me a canula, took blood and instructed the midwives as to my care plan. I was given Cyclizine, taken to a bed on the ward at around midnight, on a drip and left to sleep.

At 2am the drip machine's alarm sounded to let me know it was empty, after waiting for a midwife to come I pressed my buzzer, the bag was changed.

At 4am the drip machine's alarm sounded yet again, again I waited then pressed my buzzer.

At this point 'Debbie' informed me I'd need to provide a sample as the doctor had not signed me up for any more fluids. I was speechless but I managed to provide a sample an hour later, a measly one at that.
(This was from 11pm to 4am with no water passed at all)

It is worth mentioning that before I pass the samples on to staff I use the urinalysis sticks in the bathrooms to see what the levels are, I have been instructed by my GP to test my ketones at home, due to the Hyperemesis, so know what I am doing. If I did not do this I wouldn't know what was going on because I am/was told nothing at any point about what's happening, other than the desire to send me home ASAP! This sample still showed 3+ ketones.

I was then left to go back to sleep, no more fluids provided, and only woken by the catering staff at around 8am for breakfast which I declined. I am aware at this point that there would have been a shift change so I was hopeful that there would be a caring midwife on this time round. At around 9am I had an awful pain in my lower left calf so pressed my buzzer. I don't know the name of the lady that came, she wore a green uniform and had a strong welsh valleys accent, she told me it was probably cramp and to walk about. It's worth mentioning that I'd had no support socks, no clexane either, these two things are usually done as standard when I'm admitted for rehydration (I've also been admitted twice, one at 7/40 and once at 10/40 with suspected blood clot and had clexane, xrays, ct scan etc).

This midwife requested another sample (even though I'd provided at 5am and had 3+ ketones and had no fluid since). My 'cramp' hadn't got any better from walking around so I was told to mention it to the doctor when he came around to me - he
never did.

Another midwife came and provided me with a new bag of fluid so I assume the sample had high ketones still. However, as my canula hadn't been used for a good few hours it was blocked and the machine refused to work. The canula was flushed with saline, which hurt a lot, and the drip started to work.

So the day progressed, I was asked for samples continually (although since having my notes back I can see none of these are documented), every 1-3hrs, promised that a doctor was requesting them and at one point told that my urine was clear (at around 3pm) which I knew it wasn't because having tested it myself it came back at 2+. I just didn't understand why they were lying to me all the time? The next sample I did at 4pm I dipped and took the stick directly to them which showed, quite clearly, there were still 2+ ketones there. The midwives didn't like this at all so decided to remove the ketone sticks from the bathroom so I couldn't test it myself and asked at 4.20pm for another sample 'for the doctor' - they told me there was a small trace that time to which my husband remarked 'wow, that's gone down a lot in 20 minutes' and was told that the air affects the sticks and she'd thrown a lot out. Again, complete lies.

I was not given a name tag on my wrist at any point with my details on, which I'm told is actually an offence which you can be fined for.

When asking me how far along I was the one midwife told me that Hyperemesis was really only limited to first tri and what I had now wouldn't be that. She told me I should be eating and drinking a little to reduce my ketones, which I accept, however she was quite pushy with it and wouldn't accept that I just didn't feel able to eat anything at that precise moment. She even offered me ginger biscuits, I'm sorry but that's so bloody patronising, if ginger biscuits worked for Hyperemesis do you not think I'd have a stash? I have thrown ginger biscuits up more than I care to remember and believe me, they burn.

I never had my blood results back either, they're not in my file and when I requested them from the midwife in the afternoon she said 'I'll just go and have a look' and never came back to me. Were they back? Could you chase this up??

To summarise, my complaint is being lied to, being left for hours and hours with no doctor, no hint of what was going on other than a feeling of 'you'll be going home as soon as we can kick you out'.  I have a distinct phobia of needles and would never choose to go in for a canula!! In a million years! I'm doing this for my unborn child, I'm 21 weeks pregnant and don't want my baby to die from ketoacidosis because the MAU cannot employ midwives that care enough to do their jobs. I worry that I will ultimately have to go back in at some point in the future and if I have to consider whether or not to bother because of the shocking 'care' in your MAU then you have severely failed in your jobs. Why should anyone have to endure being made to feel so completely unwelcome and have staff treat you like you're an idiot? I don't choose to vomit, I don't choose to feel like crap and I don't choose the level of ketones in my urine. What I did choose was to be admitted to 'feel better' and ultimately I now feel ten times worse and have completely lost trust in the staff.

Could you please acknowledge receipt of this complaint?

Kind Regards
Lynnette Spragg


  1. I'm sorry you did not receive the care that you had hoped for however, I think you should remove this post as if you wish to take this complaint any further posting this on here, naming people as you have done will not go in your favor.

  2. Some people have got too much time on their hands and complain about everything. What you have written is trivial really in the grand scheme of things. I had a babby at the UHW with a high risk pregnancy and was really looked after.

  3. Lynnette Spragg19 April 2012 at 09:09

    First poster: i don't actually expect to gain anything from my complaint but i think it should be highlighted that care seems to be given according to which day of the week you're admitted on and which staff are working it.

    Second poster: i'm guessing the same one from posts further up just by the contempt in your post. Your OPINION is that it is trivial whereas everything i have posted above is FACT. I have to be honest and say it doesn't bother me if you think it's trivial or not. I had to endure it, not you, so actually i think i have the right to complain if i see fit.

    it's also worth mentioning that 2weeks prior to the above admission i had amazing service and sent in a Thank You card the very next day.